BAMER in2 Teaching
Over the past few years Sheila Kay Fund has observed a steady increase in the number of applications for support from people from a wide range or backgrounds. In particular, we have seen an influx of referrals from individuals from the black and minority, ethnic, refugee (BAMER) community that were working towards establishing a career in the Education Sector. As our relationships with these applicants developed they began to share stories of the barriers they face and of the negative experiences they had during their teacher training and beyond into their teaching careers. For many, the ingrained discrimination, negative perceptions and assumptions made by colleagues, institutions, and placement staff created a hostile and difficult environment that hindered their progress and in some instances led to them abandoning their goal of becoming a teacher altogether.
Wanting to understand the challenges further, SKF set out to explore in more detail the issue that our beneficiaries had shared with us at a local level. The work included engagement and consultation with young people, schools and wider community organisations and culminated in a full days consultation event attended by over 50 people from a cross section of the BAMER community and beyond.
As series of focus groups followed, enabling event attendees to share in depth, their experiences and ideas. There was a general consensus that previous initiatives that had attempted to improve the experiences of people from BAMER communities in education, had stalled or failed due to the fact that they existed in silo’s leaving significant gaps in support. Some of previous initiatives for example focussed on a single area of the persons journey into teaching making the support disjointed and leaving them without appropriate help when experiencing barriers.
Some comments and thoughts from the consultation:
“Teaching is a more exclusive occupation for Black communities”
“School philosophies can be a barrier”
“Overt racism, particularly in school placements”
“Marginalization where the black teacher’s contribution is solely defined by their ethnicity”
We also hosted a series of 1:1 interviews with BAMER students on their views on the subject.
This is what they said:
“I’ve never been taught by a black teacher since starting school”
“It’s just the way it is I suppose”
“I would like someone I can relate to, and understand my culture”
What next for BAMER in2 Teaching?
We are currently exploring funding opportunities to continue activity with an aim of increasing the number of BAMER Teachers in Liverpool City Region. We are continuing to support BAMER students through our existing Back 2 Learning service and hope to secure resources to enable us to put ideas from the consultation process into action.
Watch this space!